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How to enable unread-mail view in iOS

Ever wish the stock Mail app could show only your unread messages? Or only messages that have attachments? It can, if you know where to look.

iOS Mail is a lot more awesome when you switch to Unread view. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Apple's Mail app for iOS has shown gradual improvement over the years, but it's still missing one key feature: a filter or view that shows only your unread messages.

Or is it? Turns out Mail can perform that handy function very easily -- if you know where to look for the setting. Here's the procedure:

Step 1: Open the Mail app, then tap the Mailboxes button.

Step 2: You'll see your mail account(s), possibly followed by options like VIP and Flagged. (If not, don't worry.) But nothing here to indicate an "Unread" option, right?

Tap here to enable the Unread view. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 3: Tap Edit. Now you should see Unread in the list of available choices. Tap the empty circle to select it. If you want, you can also drag it (using the "handle" on the right edge) up to the top of the list so it's more readily available.

Drag the Unread view to the top for easier access to it. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 4: Tap Done. Now tap the newly visible Unread mailbox. Presto! All your unread mail from all your accounts. Happy dance!

While in step three, you may have noticed one other tantalizing option: Attachments. Enable this for an inbox view that shows only those messages that have -- wait for it -- attachments!

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

The iOS Mail app just got a whole lot more useful.